Barclays has received a further boost in its battle with Edward Bramson, the corporate raider, after ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) warned a shake-up in strategy could damage the bank’s credit worthiness.
Ratings agencies have been keeping a close watch on Barclays as it has struggled in recent years.
Moody’s downgraded the bank’s credit rating to one level above “junk” earlier this year. However, S&P, its rival agency, reaffirmed its credit rating of BBB+ this month, leaving it three notches above junk.
S&P warned that the rating would be put at risk if “our confidence in the predictability of its management and strategy waned” – putting it at odds with Mr Bramson.
S&P also criticised Sherborne Investors, Mr Bramson’s vehicle, saying its intervention was an “additional constraint”.
Sherborne has built up a more than 5pc stake in the bank and has a stated goal of turning around underperforming companies by engineering radical change. It has previously secured overhauls in management and strategy at smaller UK firms Electra and F&C.
Mr Bramson is understood to be keen to downsize Barclays’ investment bank and refocus the company’s efforts on its better performing retail businesses, particularly credit card unit Barclaycard.
S&P instead urged continuity, saying Barclays has made “substantial progress” under Barclays chief Jes Staley’s leadership.
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